Wednesday, November 16, 2005

UKTV: The Ghost Squad

A new series - the second to actually bear the name, but no relation to the original - that began on Channel 4 tonight, and continued on E4, so those of us digied-up get the first two episodes in one night.

And a good thing too, really, because the pilot was weak. The first two acts really dragged, some of the dialogue was terrible and the camera work was ten years out of date.

The second episode was a lot better. Episode one was a “premise” pilot, a clunky one at that, telling the story of how DC Amy Harris comes to the attention of the eponymous squad, an undercover division that roots out corruption in the UK’s police forces. Episode two was her first actual case, dealing with human trafficking, and hinting at the psychological toll of keeping your cover. It had its fair share of cliches - the cop on smack, the dodgy force-your-undercover-officer-to-take-drugs club scene - but, on the whole, proved it could have legs.

This show has a really good premise. The characters can be sent anywhere, deal with anything. Amy’s “cell” is one of several, and we’ve no idea where, or at what level the others operate. We’ve no idea yet if the squad is entirely legit, or a sort of SD-6 within the police force. How is it overseen - who watches the watchmen?

Channel Four need to look after this show. The Ghost Squad could be something really exciting. With more focus on plotting and less on being “gritty,” it could stand proud alongside the BBC’s quality returning-series triumvirate of Spooks, Hustle and Bodies, and inspire new writers to attempt spec episodes. If it turns out to be another plodding poe-faced hour-long, more concerned with social relevance than entertainment, I can’t see a second season happening.

I’ll keep watching, and pray more for glamour, sex, death, money, paranoia and betrayal, rather than a weekly social studies lecture. I'm not sure why I feel so pessimistic about this - if the next episode lives up to my expectations of the premise a bit more, I'll cheer up.

So, until next week, then.

Category: Movies and TV

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